2ND LEAD

SLA shelling on church kills 14, Caritas-HUDEC Vanni director wounded

[TamilNet, Thursday, 23 April 2009, 05:40 GMT]
Rev. Fr. T. R. Vasanthaseelan, the director of Human Development Centre (HUDEC) of Caritas Jaffna, the social arm of the Catholic Church in the Jaffna Diocese, was seriously wounded Thursday morning around 7:30 a.m. when Sri Lanka Army (SLA) fired shells on Our Lady of Roses Church in Valaignarmadam for the second day. 14 civilians who had taken refuge at the church were killed. The shelling on the church, which is the main centre for people seeking refuge in Valaignarmadam, comes a day after Rev. Fr. James Pathinathar was wounded in a similar attack. The SLA has attacked the church despite repeated calls from Jaffna Diocese not to target the church where 17 priests and 22 nuns were continuing to serve their congregations.

Rev. Fr. Vasanthaseelan
Rev. Fr. Vasanthaseelan
Fr. Vasanthaseelan, 35, had to have his left leg amputated, according to latest reports from Vanni.

The SLA has targeted Caritas-HUDEC head quarters in Vanni destroying humanitarian supplies on 31 January within the former 'safety zone' in Chuthanthirapuram.

HUDEC is the only local organisation, besides the Tamils Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO), to serve the displaced people in Vanni.

Meanwhile, Rev. Fr. Pathinathar, who was injured in SLA shelling on Wednesday has been transferred to Pulmoaddai in ICRC, according to medical sources.

Sixteen Catholic parishes in Mullaiththeevu have been forced to close down due to the artillery fire and aerial bombings by the Sri Lanka military, driving members of the parishes into the ‘safe zone’ announced by the government within the LTTE administered area where they continue to spend their lives in the bunkers, according to the latest issue of Catholic Guardian.


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